HelpContact UsFOILSite Map

Custom Navigation

Living in Tompkins County linkLearning in Tompkins County linkVisiting Tompkins County linkBusiness in Tompkins County linkTompkins County Government link

You are here:

You are here

> Merger of the Departments of Public Health and Mental Health

Task Force Report:
Review of The Tompkins County Mental Health and Public Health Leadership Models 2019

Download the full report (PDF, 43pp, 1.3MB)

This year marked the fourth year of a shared leadership model for the Tompkins County Mental Health and Public Health Departments. As stated in the December 2015 resolution (see Appendix A in the full report) which created this structure, County Administration was charged with reviewing the opportunities and challenges of the structure and providing a recommendation to the Legislature by the end of 2019 regarding how the departments should function in the future.

To lead a thoughtful review, County Administration formed and supported a Task Force comprised of three members from the Community Mental Health Services Board, three members from the Board of Health, and the Chair of the Health & Human Services Committee of the Legislature (see Appendix B for the listing of Task Force members). The Task Force was asked to address the above charge and consider the advantages and disadvantages of:

  1. an administrative partial merger (the current status quo and referred to as the “shared leadership model” in this report)
  2. a full merger of leadership and operations
  3. separation of the leadership and operations of the Mental Health and Public Health Departments

The Task Force was also asked to consider the various aspects of the operations, any functions that might be combined, and any lessons that can be learned from other counties that have merged these functions. The Task Force was not asked to evaluate individuals or their performance. After completion of the review the Task Force was asked to create a recommendation for submission to the County Administrator.

The Task Force weighed the significance of the term “merger” as used in the legislative resolution versus the term “integration,” as they are often used interchangeably but at times without similar meanings. While the Task Force recognizes that the term “merger” can be defined as one entity completely consuming another, this is not how the Task Force viewed the term. Rather, the Task Force viewed the outcome of both terms similarly, in that the intention of either “merger” or “integration” in this instance leads to a similar outcome – the creation of one shared department with staff throughout responding to a single vision to serve the public health and mental health needs of Tompkins County residents.

Download the full report (PDF, 43pp, 1.3MB)